Friday, December 5, 2014

Bookie Says Vanek Owed More Than $10 Million in Gambling Debts

Thomas Vanek's gambling debt stretched upwards of $10 million dollars, according to the attorney for a local bookie who pleaded guilty in Federal Court to gambling, an extortion conspiracy and a money-laundering conspiracy on Friday. 

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Joseph Ruff reportedly recieved an endorsed paycheck from the New York Islanders for $230,000 last year, after telling Vanek that he would be hurt if he didn't receive money from the then-Islander winger.

Vanek's agent, Steve Bartlett, refutes the number, saying that Vanek was in for a lot less. "It's complete fiction," he said, according to the Democrat & Chronicle, a Minnesota newspaper.
Bartlett estimated that the losses were closer to $1 million to $2 million earlier cited by sources familiar with the criminal case.

According to Ruff's attorney, Ruff never threatened violence against Vanek.

Vanek has already publicly apologized for his transgressions, and his agent says he's tired of being dragged into the criminal case. "Despite his making some bad decisions, he was the victim of extortion," Bartlett said. " ... I can assure you that Thomas Vanek will probably never bet a dollar again."